It’s amazing how one little trade can force you to take a step back and grab some perspective. I’m not prepared to declare the Marco Scutaro trade as the deal that will put the Rockies over the top in 2012 – far from it, actually. However, if you look at this lineup as it is currently constructed, you have to like what you see.
With addition of Scutaro, the offense is now down to just one significant question mark – Casey Blake. That’s the beauty of this move. At the price of one very marginal ground ball pitcher, the Rockies were able to plug a massive black-hole up the middle. Now, they have a plus offensive player in at least six positions, possibly even seven. Perhaps even more importantly, DOD appears to have finally won a trade this off-season. For that, I will grant him a temporary reprieve, but only until he does something else to drive me crazy, which is pretty much a guarantee.
Scutaro also gives the team some versatility. He can play second, short, and third. So if Blake gets hurt – excuse me, when Blake gets hurt – the Rox could possibly move Marco to third, depending on which position has the better backup. Granted, giving Tracy multiple lineup options might actually be a bad thing, but hopefully the Great Tinkerer won’t get carried away. (Grimaces as he types sentence)
On Saturday, my BSB companion pointed out that, with this move, the Rox have officially gotten away from the oft-mentioned youth movement. It’s a pretty fair point. Without a doubt, this team is much older, and that pretty much flies in the face of what DOD and company have been preaching for so long. However, right now, it’s a necessary evil. In other words, they had no choice but to get older because they haven’t done a very good job of developing a new line of young players.
The truth is that Generation R is, well, old. The failures of recent drafts have left the Rox with a dearth of talent in the farm system. Sure, there are some bright spots — AFL MVP Nolan Arenado comes to mind — but overall it’s not a strong group. And so, the Rox have been forced to fill the gaps at second and third with aging veterans – a somewhat pricey one in Scutaro’s case. At the same time, they are grasping for straws to fill out their starting rotation. For a mid-market franchise like the Rox, failing in the draft effectively operates like a blockade. Their supplies have been cut off, making it much harder to compete.
This is the best kept secret of the off-season. The Rox claim that they are overhauling the character of the clubhouse. Even though I still have a hard time buying into that, I’m not in position to question it. However, regardless of the squad’s character, there is no denying that they are making up for past mistakes. Because of that, they’ve had to reach in a few spots, particularly with the rotation. Also, they are extremely vulnerable to injuries. Not only are their starters at second and third old, they lack depth because their young infielders aren’t very good. Still, I think DOD and company are doing the best they can after backing themselves into a corner, and if things go just right, this squad could be the biggest surprise in all of baseball. Not that I’m suddenly an advocate for DOD, but with the Scutaro deal, things make a little more sense. I wouldn’t bet on them winning the NL West this year, but there is at least a chance and that’s an improvement since December.
In the end, that’s all I ask of DOD – to make moves that are backed up by logic and actually make this team better. If they do that with the core they have in place, eventually things will go right. Now, let’s all take a knee for a little Tebow session and ask the Good Lord to watch over Chacin, Nicasio, Pomeranz, Alex White, Jason Hammel, and DLR’s elbow this year. The fate of the 2012 Rockies will have a lot more to do with that group than the team’s new 36 year-old second baseman.